OVERLAND PARK, Kan.—UMBC senior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) has been named one of 30 candidates for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which honors the nation's best women's basketball seniors who also excel in the classroom and make an impact in their communities.
The award, presented to NCAA Division I student-athletes each year in 10 sports, focuses on four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
Kurowski has made her mark in all four categories during her time at UMBC. A 2011 America East All-Conference First Team selection, she ranked second in the America East in scoring (14.6 ppg) last season, leading the Retrievers to the America East regular-season title and a berth in the WNIT. The 2011 team co-MVP led the America East and ranked sixth in the NCAA in free throw percentage (.894), a UMBC single-season record and the third-best ever in the America East. Kurowski is the America East's active career scoring leader with 1,263, which ranks seventh all-time at UMBC, and she was the third-fastest Retriever ever to score 1,000 career points. She owns a career 13.7 ppg scoring average, the third-best in school history, and she has ranked among the America East's top 10 scoring leaders in each of her first three seasons. Her .848 free throw percentage ranks second all-time at UMBC, and she is also listed among the school's career statistical leaders in a number of other categories.
Off the court, Kurowski graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMBC in May after just three years. She maintained a 3.82 grade-point average while earning a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in social welfare. She is currently pursuing a teaching certificate and a master's degree in early childhood education at UMBC. The 2011 America East Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Kurowski was selected to the 2011 Capitol One Academic All-District First Team, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team and the America East Women's Basketball All-Academic Team, and she was also named the female recipient of UMBC's Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award in 2011.
A women's basketball team co-captain for the 2011-12 season, Kurowski is the vice president of UMBC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and she won UMBC's 2010-11 SAAC Award for academic achievement, community service and athletic involvement. Kurowski participates in UMBC's Make a Difference mentoring program, which pairs student-athletes with elementary school students on a one-on-one basis to promote academic and personal growth. She has also volunteered with Autism Speaks and for the Department of Social Services foster care unit.
Kurowski is one of two candidates from the America East Conference, as she is joined by New Hampshire's Denise Beliveau.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four C's of community, classroom, character and competition.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner during the NCAA Women's Final Four, which will be held April 1 and 3 in Denver.